And also, you kids get off my lawn.

Today I did one of those things that Houston park’n’ride bus riders sometimes do: I hitched a ride with a strangers so we could take the HOV lane. Hurray!

(Don’t worry. There’s a complex social structure in place. I follow the structure and refrain from getting killed.)

I like to do the Spontaneous Stranger Carpool because I have the most interesting conversations that way. Today, it turned out that none of the three of us strangers had our degrees. And, I’m not saying this because I want to encourage you youngsters not to get your degrees, but…

…but, um, why the hell am I worried about encouraging kids to get their degrees? That’s what we talked about today. Why are kids, lately, made to feel like getting a degree is the only was on Earth they’ll ever get jobs? It’s just not true.

I feel almost hypocritical for saying this, because many people have heard me say in real life that inner city schools sucked for not exposing poor students to the idea of college.

I do still believe that all school counselors should talk to all students about college. But I don’t believe that’s the only thing they should talk about.

The facts are that not everyone is cut out to go to college, not everyone wants a white collar job, and even if everyone did, there wouldn’t be enough white collar jobs to go around. There are gazillions of jobs that don’t require degrees, but you wouldn’t know that to hear the way Generation Y (or whatever they’re called) is getting indoctrinated.

One of my fellow ‘poolers said she thinks that not only are kids brainwashed into college at any cost these days, but they’re also made to believe that if they don’t get promoted every two years, they should quit their jobs. She cited the college-or-loser mentality as the reason behind increases in high turnover and low morale in Corporate America.

I don’t know if I’d go that far, but it was interesting to hear her opinion.

I have to say that it took a while before each of us in the car admitted that we didn’t have degrees. But once one of us did, the others quickly followed suit. It was funny that we didn’t feel comfortable saying it — that we were all obviously used to keeping that fact on the down low.

And yet we each had good, long-time careers in profitable industries.

We talked about the Air Force and the Navy. We talked about vocational and trade schools and how you just don’t hear as much about them anymore.

And… that’s all. That’s all I wanted to tell y’all about that. That, and I like talking to strangers in the HOV lane — connecting with them without learning their names. It’s fun.

Workplace Magazine Centerfold

I hate it when you work at a big company and other people who work there think they’re celebrities because they work on a certain floor or in a certain department.

Like, the other day, Jane Doe’s assistant called me and told me to come pick up something Jane Doe had for me. I said, “Okay. Where do you sit?”

She made an audible throat emission of scorn and said, “In front of Jane Doe’s office.”

And I had to laugh, and I said, “Okay. Would you mind telling me where Jane Doe sits?”

And she acted like I had just fallen off a turnip truck full of lobotomized people or something. Because I didn’t know where Jane Doe’s office was. Because…. Why? I don’t know. Who the hell is Jane Doe? Do you know where she sits? No, why would you? Why would anyone? I’m sure Jane’s a really nice person, but she’s not famous, as far as I know. Or else, as I said later to a coworker, “Is there some celebrity magazine about the celebrities who work here that I forgot to subscribe to?”

I think, if you get all your life’s importance from the belief that you sit in front of an office that everyone in your company should know the location of, then maybe you should look at a globe or something and remind yourself how big the effing world is.

Same day, some person got angry to the point of rudeness because I didn’t know she was the boss of some other person. And she made reference to her department’s org chart and the copy of it she was certain I must have (but that I didn’t). And I thought, “That org chart must be in every issue of the magazine that I’m not getting that is specially designed for people who have nothing in their lives other than this job and their perceived positions on the hierarchies that exist in the lower echelons here from 8 to 5.” Because, otherwise, I can’t imagine why I would have another department’s org chart, or why anyone would expect me to know her place on it, unless she was really insecure and solipsistic. (Or just stupid.) (Or all three.)

If I found out there was such a magazine about my workplace, I’d read a few issues, but only in my dentist’s office, for free, and only to laugh at it.

Except that it probably wouldn’t even be funny.

Part of me wants to pity these people. But most of me hates them because they’re rude. I hate rudeness. It’s hard for me to care about people who don’t have manners. Especially when they’re also miserable people who spend their time trying to make others miserable, too. You know?

But it won’t work on me, because I don’t want to be miserable. And my happiness isn’t based on who I’m allowed to boss around from 8 to 5.

Thank God for that.

(Some day a real rain will come, and I won’t have to work a day job anymore.)


1. It’s hard to feel it in Houston — you have to wake up early in the morning to feel it, or else you have to pay attention to the refraction of the sun’s rays — but fall is in the air.

I’m happy just for that, because fall (“Autumn”) is my absolute favorite season.

2. I had the flu on Monday and Tuesday. I might still have it now, but only Monday and Tuesday were bad enough to stay home. And they were pretty bad. I only get sick once a year, and it’s always the flu. And I always get very, very sick for two days, and then I’m good enough to go back to work after that.

I like to do things quickly like that. I like to get sick quick and get well quick. Get drunk quick and get sober quick. Get emotional quick and get over it quick. I like that kind of efficiency. That’s what fits into my schedule best.

3. I had to rent a marimba today. This weekend, I have to shell out a gazillion dollars for percussion instruments and percussion instrument accessories for one of my brats. I hope he enjoys learning percussion and that he sticks with it for life. He might. It’s worth the cost, that possibility.

4. My brother-in-law and I pledged to start a cover band. (He’s actually my future brother-in-law, but it’s easier just to say it like it’s already happening. It may as well be, for all intents and purposes.) (Not the dentist brother-in-law — the other one. Let’s call the other one… the wise-ass, drunken-ass, half-breed-ass, cold-blooded-ass, funny one. No…. Let’s just call him the other one.)

So, okay, we were drinking when we made our plan. But we were also singing karaoke (my in-laws are Asian, so they have a karaoke system in every room of all their houses), so that makes it much more serious.

And…. What was I talking about? Oh, yeah — we share an appreciation of Everclear in which my fiance does not indulge. That right there is practically an obligation to start a band, as far as I’m concerned.

5. I keep telling people I’ll give them copies of my kids’ book, or sell them copies, or sign their copies, but then I never get around to it. Okay, you know how we can fix that, people? If everyone comes to my Official Book Party for Growing Up with Tamales, in October, at MECA, which is in Houston’s neartown west-end inner loop whatever-o region. More details on that when I look them up in my gmail and then post them in that section at the top of this page.

Oh, and also, I’ll be at Houston’s Latino Book Fair in September, of course. On Sunday, not Saturday. September 21, I think. So there you go.

6. I’m not very good at promoting my art. 😐

7. That’s all. I hope y’all are doing well. I miss y’all and wish I had more time to post more meaningful, insightful, whateverful things. Maybe some day soon, when the real rain comes, if you wish real hard and light those candles.

Thanks, if you do. Thanks if you’re reading. Thanks, especially, if you’re buying my books. Hate to be crass, but I have to say that sometimes. Otherwise, this site can’t be a write-off. I think y’all understand that. I mean, I don’t want you to feel guilty if you read this site for free and never buy any of my books… but, then again, I’m actually okay with you feeling guilty under those circumstances.


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Posted in Houston, the bus, venting, work, writing on 08/29/2008 12:53 am

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